Story Games Seattle Message Board What We Played › Love Gone Awry (Penny for My Thoughts)

Love Gone Awry (Penny for My Thoughts)

Feiya
Feiya
Seattle, WA
Post #: 5
Players: Feiya, Ben R, Caroline, and Jason

Thoughts on Penny:
I really enjoyed the mundane-ness of the stories, but also how fucked up they were. It was a little hard at times working in the Trigger memories, and there were some times where the question that was asked, while the person asking the question probably had something specific in mind, the person answering it took it a completely different direction. For example, one of the Trigger memories was "The prick of the pin as a medal is stuck to your chest." The question that I asked was about the survivor support group and I intended it to be for surviving family members who had someone die from cancer, but instead, it was taken to be a cancer survivors support group (which really makes more sense) and the medal was a 6 month congrats pin instead of a name tag. It was great but there's definitely some guess work on the question and answer part of what they're trying to go with it.
I also felt like it was a lot more relaxed in terms of the pressure of coming up with plot points because whatever question you asked, the person responding had the ability to add as much detail as they wanted to the reason, and when the person was recounting their memory and asked for guidance on what they did or said next, because two people got to suggest what you did/said, as long as the two possibilities were different enough, there was still the choice. The challenge I think is coming up with shocking or concrete things that happened. Also, exploring what other things might traumatize someone other than death.


Summary of Game:
(1)
Ellen visits her dying mother in the hospital with her fiancé John but doesn't get a chance to say goodbye. Even though she doesn't love him, the next day she marries him so she doesn't end up alone like her mom. Six months later, Ellen is a cancer survivor, she hid it from John, but he knew all along. John wants to adopt children since they have been unsuccessful in conceiving, but Ellen resists, saying at first that she wouldn't love the adopted children as much, but then admits that she doesn't want to have children with him. She ends up conceiving anyway and is now irrevocably tied to John.
(In the last scene, we skipped backwards to the day Ellen's mom tells her she has cancer) Ellen brings her previous fiancé, whom she loves very much to visit her mom. Ellen knows already that her mom is planning to tell her of the diagnosis, because the hospital called. They discuss the real reason Ellen's dad left her mom, because their love was unbalanced. In the car ride home, Ellen turns to her previous fiancé and tells him she'll never end up like her mom.
Reason Memory Was Lost: Ellen became like her mom.
Remember? Yes

(2)
A successful young lawyer is obsessed with high heels to the point of feet mutilation. She has to have emergency surgery to combat the negative effects of wearing high heels and becomes addicted to pain killers as a result.
She accidentally/on purpose falls down a flight of stairs to get access to more powerful pain killers to feed her addiction. It works, but the unexpected consequence is that she breaks her back and becomes a paraplegic. Upon arriving home from the hospital after the accident, she attempts to commit suicide but fails and is forced to hire a caretaker. A second attempt is foiled by the caretaker, whom she detests, so she tells the hospital that he forced the pills down her throat and ruins his life, causing him to be unable to graduate from college. She joins a paraplegic support group because of the guilt of her lies and ends up selling them her extra pain killers.
She meets Eric, a rich paraplegic and while she enjoys being sexual with him, after a while, it's not as intense, so she wants to explore more extreme kinks and convinces him to trust her. She's careless and drugged up and accidentally kills him by asphyxiation.
Reason Memory Was Lost: Being addicted to drugs eventually leads her to accidentally kill her lover.
Remember? No, the guilt and remorse of the death is too much.

(3)
He has a fling with the hot new girl at work but in doing so, realizes that he's gay.
He intentionally allows himself to be caught having sex with a male sex worker by his wife, but unintentionally his son is also there. She divorces him and gains sole custody of his son.
His life consists of bed-hopping and spying on his son. He tries to talk to his son but his ex-wife finds him and puts a restraining order on him. The day that he is supposed to go into court, he goes instead to his son's school, kidnaps him and tries to reason with him. His son has been turned against him by his ex-wife, and instead of persevering, he turns and walks away.
Reason Memory Was Lost: He walked away from his son, the only person he ever truly loved.
Remember? Yes, because his son was the only person he loved.

(4)
He got thrown in jail for shoplifting, which he did to prove to his friend that he was cool. While in jail, he makes the acquaintance of an actual criminal. His mom is unable to pick him up from jail because she's drunk. When he gets home, his dad beats him and then turns to his mom and starts beating her and he takes the opportunity to run away.
He becomes a drug dealer and has a sex worker for a girlfriend, he's cruel to her and in a fit of rage, shoots her ear off.
(another time jump backwards to when he first started going out with his girlfriend) He gets beaten up by her pimp's gang but shrugs it off. When he sees her, she's sympathetic towards him and offers to let him stay at her place until things cool down. He realizes that she really cares for him.
Reason Memory Was Lost: He used her even though she really cared for him.
Remember? Yes
Caroline
user 11624621
Seattle, WA
Post #: 25
Another fantastically tragic penny game!

There are two tricky things with the memory triggers that are important to remember:
1. Write something specific, something we can all imagine really quickly
2. The first 'guiding question' should relate specifically to the trigger.

We didn't always do both things (guilty!), but those two things together are supposed to help make the scene more cohesive.

The hardest thing about this game I think is to form strong/meaningful relationships in 3 short rounds of play. The most compelling one we managed to make, in my opinion, was the thug who was so loved. Destroying relationships between characters ends up being an awesome trauma--and I think we can say each of our traumas was the result of having/losing relationships.

Something I'm wondering is how roleplaying outside of the memories should occur, if at all. Should we be pretending to be amnesiacs as we do meta stuff? Thoughts?
Feiya
Feiya
Seattle, WA
Post #: 6
I think more immersion would always be good, Pat was keen on trying a game in a quiet room with a lounger. I think it would take another session or two of Penny for the mechanics to become more natural and make pretending easier. The specific phrases we were supposed to say tripped me up in the beginning and I didn't realize until we did it that the three scenes didn't have to follow a timeline. But that didn't really change the easy flow of the stories. They were all believable, fallible human beings.
Ben R
thatsabigrobot
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 265
Something I'm wondering is how roleplaying outside of the memories should occur, if at all. Should we be pretending to be amnesiacs as we do meta stuff? Thoughts?
When you say meta stuff, do you mean asking questions, things like that? I was definitely role-playing recounting my memories, being muddled and confused at times. I mean, we're amnesiacs in therapy right? It shouldn't be neat and easy. We're struggling to remember.

The were two things I think were pitfalls. One is I think there's a danger of asking extraordinarily specific questions about the trigger, which seems less interesting ("did you already know your father was arrested for embezzling $200,000 from the local Rotary Club?"). Smaller, vaguer questions feel much more appropriate.

The other thing (which we talked about a little during the game) was having way too much time pass during the trigger questions -- like you get a job, and are fired, and get married, and have a kid, all during the sense memories. I think the scenes we did that were very short specific moments in time (arguing in Mom's kitchen, etc) had a lot more emotional impact than the ones that covered a big chunk of time in the character's life.

Also: we get gold stars for even pulling off Penny in a cafe with rap music in the background.
Feiya
Feiya
Seattle, WA
Post #: 7
I think there's a danger of asking extraordinarily specific questions about the trigger, which seems less interesting ("did you already know your father was arrested for embezzling $200,000 from the local Rotary Club?"). Smaller, vaguer questions feel much more appropriate.

I'm going to disagree on this point because I feel like if I was truly trying to help someone remember their memory, I would be as specific as possible and give as many details about it that might help them. And small, vague questions put more of the responsibility of the story on the rememberee so I feel like the shared story isn't as shared. And if the specific questions make you feel boxed in on your story...just think of it as a challenge!
Caroline
user 11624621
Seattle, WA
Post #: 27
Something I'm wondering is how roleplaying outside of the memories should occur, if at all. Should we be pretending to be amnesiacs as we do meta stuff? Thoughts?
When you say meta stuff, do you mean asking questions, things like that? I was definitely role-playing recounting my memories, being muddled and confused at times. I mean, we're amnesiacs in therapy right? It shouldn't be neat and easy. We're struggling to remember.

I mean when we're moving from person to person. Should we be like, in character, "now let's focus on your memories *role play role play role play*." Should we react to someone's memory and/or should we show emotion/act a little when giving options for decision points?
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